Recognizing and Avoiding Phishing Scams

Published on: April 28, 2011 

One of the concerns that players have in online gambling is about the security of their sensitive information such as credit card and log in details. The entire system handling the financial transactions at online casinos, which includes casinos and payment solutions providers, employs the highest degree of security measures. Gambling with real money online is as safe as purchasing air travel ticket or Internet banking. This does not imply that the online casino player can be careless in the way he handles the sensitive information at his end. The player has become the weakest link in the chain and the efforts of Internet thieves are directed towards him.

This means that the player has to be more aware, alert and careful. The two main targets of the Internet thieves are credit card details and electronic wallet log in details. Without the financial details being compromised there is little that Internet hackers can do. Since they are unable to extract this information from the servers of the online casinos or payment solution providers they approach the players for this information. The hackers have come up with ingenious methods by which they make the players reveal this information. Such methods have come to be known as phishing scams in Internet terminology.

In one type of phishing scam the player receives an e-mail from a domain name that is almost exactly that of his electronic wallet provider. It would contain a message saying that the player has not changed his password in the last six months and therefore the password will expire in a few days. Further pressure is applied on the unsuspecting online casino player by adding that if the password is not changed before the expiry period then the account will get locked in and the funds lost forever. Then a link is provided in the e-mail to enable the player to the password. The link takes the player to a website that is near identical to the web site of his electronic wallet provider. Fields are provided for entering the old and new passwords. Actually this web site belongs to the phishing scammer. Once the player enters the existing password all is lost. The scammer accesses the electronic wallet account and makes a bogus online purchase thereby transferring the funds to his own account.

This is just one type of modus operandi. Several such schemes have been detected and new ones are being invented by the day. All online financial service providers, whether banks or credit card companies or electronic wallet providers do not tire of warning their customers. Please heed what they have to say and read the messages they send out even if they appear to have been sent before.

There are some basic guidelines to be observed. The most important precaution is never to access the payment services provider’s site from a link in an e-mail or a third party site. The best option is to enter the url directly in the browser. The second best option is to access the site from the search results in a reputed search engine. If the player is asked to enter sensitive information he should not do it directly. He should contact customer support of the service provider and confirm that the action is required. When a player receives a phishing mail he recognizes as such, he should forward the mail to the customer support. This will alert the payment service provider and enable them to take required action at their end.

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